International Women’s Day on March 8 marked our official launch of Women’s History Month at UVA Health. This is one of our favorite times of year – a time for celebrating women and their achievements, here at UVA Health and around the world. There have been countless efforts in the last century to address equity in all corners of the world for women and women’s rights. While we have made progress in striving toward a less-biased world, we continue to embrace equity as our theme for Women’s History Month in March 2023.
The day also marks a call to action to accelerate equity for all who identify as women. One of the missions of International Women’s Day is to promote women’s health – a mission obviously near and dear to all of us at UVA Health. We strive to make a positive difference for women in our health environments: whether for our team members or for patients in our care.
Though words are a powerful motivator for change, actions speak louder; at UVA Health, there are many examples of women whose actions are forging new frontiers in healthcare to address equity in our community and beyond. Today, we highlight three unsung heroes whose undying commitment to improving women’s and our local community’s health is bettering the lives of many across our UVA Health community. These women prove the possibility of change and the importance of accountability in our modern healthcare system, whether it’s expanding our standards of excellence, cultivating community and belonging, or delivering better health outcomes.
Today we spotlight Jennifer L. Payne, MD, whose life’s work and passion is fighting to end stigma around mental health illness. As Professor and Vice Chair of Research Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, Dr. Payne researches the connection between pregnancy and depression in order to reveal unique challenges individuals with mental illness face in their pregnancy journeys. Read Dr. Payne’s story here.
We also spotlight two team members who are working to cultivate healthy communities, belonging for all, and health equity, both in Virginia and across the world. As the new clinical instructor and nurse for our local Westhaven community, Christina Feggans-Langston, BSN, MSN writes: “To me, this job isn’t just about having a body in a position: it’s having someone who looks like you and truly knows and is comfortable with this community. I’ve come full circle.” Read Christina’s story here.
Nearly 2,000 miles away, in Bluefields, Nicaragua, research by Emma M. Mitchell, PhD, MSN, RN shows the international importance of community as a means for increasing equity for women. Associate Professor of Nursing and Director of Global Initiatives, Dr. Mitchell is improving health outcomes for those at risk of cervical cancer, engaging the community through an app in a journey toward equitable healthcare access for all. Read Dr. Mitchell’s story here.
Thank you to Dr. Payne, Christina, and Dr. Mitchell for helping to transform health and inspire hope for all Virginians and beyond. We are humbled by your work, your contributions and your passion for a more equitable and better world. You are today’s role models, and we celebrate you and all women across UVA Health – both this month and throughout the year.
Marianne Baernholdt, RN
Dean, School of Nursing
Wendy Horton, PharmD
Chief Executive Officer, UVA Health Medical Center
Melina R. Kibbe, MD
Dean, School of Medicine
Filed Under: Community